Most people aren’t aware of their lymphatic system until they have a swollen, hard, sensitive, or painful lymph node, then they will want to know everything there is to know about the lymphatic system. It is an amazing system that reaches to every part of the body destroying harmful organisms and filtering waste. A swollen lymph node is a warning sign of an infection and sometimes a serious disease like cancer, so it shouldn’t be ignored.
The body is an amazing system which combines balance and cooperation among various sub-systems. Today, we will cover the lymphatic system, which operates within the body without most people even noticing it.
How Does It Function
One of the most important functions of the lymphatic system is to aid the immune system. It does this by destroying harmful organisms and filtering waste through the lymph fluid. After the organisms are filtered, the lymph is returned to the circulatory system.
The lymphatic system is also responsible for destroying and removing harmful organisms from the lymph fluid. Below are the 7 harmful organisms filtered by the lymphatic system:
- Cancer cells
- Dead blood cells
Lymph, which begins as plasma, enters the lymphatic capillaries, which are blind-ended tubes that are the size of a single cell and are attached to tissue. There are superficial lymphatic capillaries (70%) and deep lymphatic capillaries (30%).
- The superficial lymphatic capillaries are located close to the skin.
- The deep lymphatic capillaries are located around organs.
When fluid builds up, it opens up the capillaries to allow the fluid to enter but not leave. When it builds up in the capillaries, the lymph will move forward. Since there is no organ that pumps the lymph fluid through the body, it relies on the lymphatic capillaries to keep the fluid moving through the web like system.
Lymph Node Workings
The lymph is moved through the body and will pass through roughly 600 to 700 nodes that are part of the lymphatic system. The nodes have the responsibility of destroying harmful organisms and filtering waste in the lymph before it travels to the next node in the system or is released back into the circulatory system.
When the specialized white blood cells destroy pathogens, it can cause the node to swell up. Lymph nodes trap cancer cells and can destroy some of them, which slows the spread of cancer. If the lymph nodes become overwhelmed with cancer cells and they will not be able to control the spread of cancer in the body.
For most people, the lymphatic system carries out its functions quietly and behind the scenes until it is overwhelmed and a lymph node problem is noticed. Having a swollen node doesn’t instantly mean cancer; it could be cause by bacteria, viruses, infections, and even injuries. If you notice something wrong with your lymphatic system, you should have a health care professional check them before you assume it is cancer.